Although Jeremiah suffers much, he stays bold before man because he is broken before God (Jer. 15:10-21; 16:1-4,19-21; 17:11-18; 18:18-23). He tells Judah that punishment is inevitable (15:1-9; 16:5-13; 17:1-4), but that there's still hope (16:14-18) and wisdom (17:5-10,19-27). Fact: Our lives are in the hands of God (18:1-17)!
The Lord said, Verily (truly) . . . I will cause the enemy to entreat (treat) thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction (Jer. 15:11). But, when the Israelites rejected God and His Word as their way of life, they forfeited His wonderful protective shield and tragically suffered both spiritual and physical loss.
To understand the Israelites' problems and their final outcome, Jeremiah was sent to the potter's house to see a live illustration of what God was about to do. God said to Jeremiah: Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear My words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought (was making) a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred (ruined) in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it (18:2-4). Then the Lord said: O house of Israel . . . as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in Mine hand. . . . If it do evil in My sight, that it obey not My voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them (18:6,10).
When the vessel (God's chosen people) was marred in the hand of the potter it was the hardness within the clay itself and not the failure of the potter that made the vessel worthless. Clay must be soft and pliable for the potter to mold it. Israel had rejected the will of God and was marred (hardened) by its sin. Consequently, the vessel, Israel, was broken and taken into captivity by Babylon, a nation used as the instrument of God. After 70 years of captivity (25:11), God made the clay into another vessel which was the small group — remnant — of Jews who willingly returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple and worship Him.
We are like earthen vessels and God has a special plan for each of us to be a vessel for His use, even though we too are distorted by sin. When we yield ourself to the Master Potter, with loving hands He will mold us again into another vessel, one better prepared to contain and express the Presence of Christ Himself. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (II Cor. 5:17).
Thought for Today:
He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour (Prov. 21:21).
By Jeremiah's words to God: Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart (Jer. 15:16). Jesus said: The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life (John 6:63).
15:1 toward =favorable to; 15:6 repenting =grieving over and giving you another chance; 17:10 try the reins =test the heart; 18:11 frame =prepare; 18:15 in a way not cast up =on paths of sin, not ways of righteousness and honor.
Pray for International Broadcasts in honor of Bonnie Wilhite • Government Official: Sec. Timothy Geithner (Dept. of the Treasury) and Rep. Louis Gohmert (TX) • Country: United Arab Emirates (2 million) on the eastern Arabian Peninsula • Major languages: Arabic and Farsi • Pressure and hostility against Christians are increasing • 95% Muslim; 4% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to deliver you from willful sins (Ps. 19:13).
Optional Reading: 2 Peter 3
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 4:17